Rune Temte as Ubba, the most senior-ranking Dane, in BBC AMERICA’s ‘The Last Kingdom.’ (Photo: BBC AMERICA)
“When you think of the Vikings, do you envision savage brutes wielding swords and shields while wearing helmets with pointy horns? Well, part of that is true. To celebrate this Saturday’s Viking invasion of BBC AMERICA with the epic new drama The Last Kingdom, we separate the truth from mere myth. Who were the Vikings really?”
In response to The Daily Post’ “Ripped from the Headlines!.”
My latest experience with Vikings has been with a football team from Minnesota, or reading joke books full of Ole and Lena stories. I must not forget the famous Norwegian Lutefisk Suppers! When we hear the word Viking, raping, pillaging and plundering come to mind from their past adventures. I would imagine a bit of that went on after a menacing looking Viking boat landed at some villages on the North Sea. From the history books it sounds like those Vikings were not welcome at all ports. Sailors still have a reputation of getting a little rowdy. Huge Viking men were depicted as a hardy lot, they no doubt could put away large quantities of rum and tables full of food at one sitting. The oarsmen no doubt had extremely large muscles, similar to the Viking football players, a very hairy, heavy, hardy, hungry, muscular group.
My ancestors were Norwegian Vikings. Maybe something was wrong with our Viking genes? All of them that I heard about were a very easy going and quiet, a very reserved group of people. They were hardy pioneers coming to America in 1868 with everything they owned in a few steamer trunks and bed rolls. After leaving Ellis Island they made their way west where they worked in the copper mines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. After working under the lake for a time they moved further west to the iron mines of Northern Minnesota.
After a few years working in the open pit mines they moved west to South Dakota to begin farming. Turning the virgin sod with an ox and a plow. They learned to live off the land when they had to. The life would have been considered more than just hard. It must have been almost unbearable. Blistering hot summers and freezing cold winters, living in a sod house. The family oxen were brought into the old sod shanty for their own good and for the heat from their body’s during a blizzard.
Part of our family stayed in South Dakota, others moved to Alberta Canada. Their pioneer spirit finally found them settled at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. A beautiful place on the east slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They started clearing small areas of forested low ground and turning it into farmland. My great-grandfather and his brother were in their sixties at that time. A rather advanced age for someone to start a new life! A large family grew up there, many returned to become American citizens.
My Vikings are sure a disappointment when it comes to the revelry, raping and pillaging, but that is on the don’t do list in these modern days anyhow. Some did square dance until they were a 100 years old. There is a lesson here, hard work never hurt anyone. In my mind, I think I would have been a happy young Viking touring all the countries bordering the North seas. All the LUTEFISK I could eat too! Yeah right?